Part 2 of my quest to get a better volunteer position at a local hospital. If haven’t done so already, you can read part 1 first.
After wandering the halls for a while, following the directory signs, and asking people for help I made it to the volunteer director’s office. The door was ajar and the glow spilling out into the hall told me that someone was in. Tentatively, I stepped forward knocking lightly before peaking around the door. The director looked up from her desk and asked if she could help me. I smiled and nodded, stepping fully into the office now.
Spinning My Story
I explained to her that I was a graduate student who was looking into going to medical school upon graduation. She seemed interested in my story and eager to help. She told me that they had a position at the hospice affiliated with the hospital working with compiling the medical records if I was interested. She admitted that most of it would consist of simply filing papers and might not be what I was looking for exactly. I explained again that I was looking more for a position where I would be able to interact with doctors or at least see what they did(more so than ED if possible).
Faint Glimmer of Hope
She frowned at lapsed into thought for a little. When she looked back at me a small smile touched her features. “How do you feel about working in the OR,” she asked. My eyes would have probably bulged out of my sockets if I hadn’t kept a tight control on my excitement. “What sort of work do you mean,” I asked hesitantly, knowing the patient recovery rooms in the OR dealt with the same things the ED did. “Oh, this is something more hands on for sure and I think you’ll get to meet a lot of doctors too. Let me make a call first and see what the situation is like down there,” she replied.
One phone call later she said that they needed help and that they were sending someone down who could explain things to me. At the least I’ll get to see the OR I figured. The gentleman from the OR, John*, turned out to be a very nice man who helped me get a pair of scrubs, suit up, and gave me the grand tour of the OR.
It turned out that I would be working with the sterilization, re-packaging, and delivery of equipment form the main supply center to the OR’s mini-supply center that connected into each of the operating rooms. I was allowed to watch for a short moment, though a small window, a knee surgery in progress. It was awesome!
I was even invited and encouraged to stand in on as many of the operations as I wanted to! This was a dream come true for me! I couldn’t believe that I had gone from a mostly hands-off position in the ED to taking on a second shift working with doctors in the OR. All this from being proactive and not settling for less. I practically floated home.
Now, I probably got very lucky with getting such a great spot, but I think it’s the asking part that did wonders. My advise to all the premed students out there who are suffering in boring positions is to take your complaints to someone higher up. Don’t stop fighting to get the position that will allow you the best shot at achieving your dreams!
*All names and identifying features have been changed to protect the original person’s identity.